This entry is long overdue. In fact, I ended up taking a six month break from posting. Was it intentional? No.  Did I neglect my blog? No. Okay… maybe yes. However, I, Sara Aiko, do hereby promise that I will be better at this, since there is so much of Kyoto I want to share with you all!

When it comes to accommodations, it seems like a new rental property pops up every week here in Kyoto. In fact, I heard from an acquaintance that eighty new submissions are made to the city each month for rental licenses. I can’t personally vouch for this number, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

Since there are so many hotels, guest houses, and rental properties around the city, I want to make it easier for you and pick out the ones that I think are sexy and brilliant. Now, my tastes lean more towards stylish designs and special locations… but how can you go wrong with that?

So, after my overly long intro and non-apology for my hiatus… Here is my first recommendation!


Ko Kinse is a new rental property that opened its doors in mid-2017. It’s the second property operated by owners Seanacey and Kojiro, who also run the nearby Kinse Inn. In charming Kyoto fashion, they have transformed a traditional machiya townhouse with a hundred years of history into not just one, but two rental properties. Both were designed by a well-established architect in Kyoto who specializes in converting old Japanese machiya into dreamy homes that you’ll never want to leave.

Check out

Kokinse A


Kokinse B

Owner Seanacey talks about…


The renovation was undertaken by architect Shigenori Uoya, and he did a wonderful job of highlighting structural and design details from the original building while also giving it a completely new feel. For the front unit, we went with a blend of new and old: modern design downstairs and traditional upstairs. In the back studio unit we were able to be playful: growing a bird of paradise plant up through the floor, vaulting the ceilings, and hanging a hammock chair from the exposed beams.


The Shimabara neighbourhood is interesting, because even though it’s just one stop away from Kyoto Station it isn’t touristy at all. Since it has a history as both a geisha and a red light district, you can find exquisite examples of the architecture and decor of that time at Sumiya, an ageya entertainment house just down the street. We also hear from our guests that they like being able to just stroll to our bar in the Kinse Inn building for a whiskey or coffee.  Since it’s off the beaten path for most tourists, they get to feel like it’s their own private hideaway.


In the front unit, it’s definitely the rain shower head and soaking tub. I also love the large skylight that brightens up the area around the dining table. In the back unit, I like hanging out in the hammock chair, and it’s also a really nice feeling to lie in bed and gaze up at the beams and structure of the old building.

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